News

Reparations bill gains momentum as an interfaith cause

July 23, 2021

(RNS) — A pastor in Evanston, Illinois, the first U.S. city to adopt a municipal initiative on reparations, told a gathering of faith leaders on Thursday (July 22) that they can play a key role in moving a community toward action on the long-debated issue, even if it takes a while.

The Rev. Michael C.R. Nabors, a Baptist pastor in Evanston and the president of Evanston’s NAACP chapter, said it took more than two decades for his city to provide reparations.

“Faith leaders have been involved from the beginning,” he told Religion News Service after addressing a webinar...

Read more about Reparations bill gains momentum as an interfaith cause

The Religious Leaders on the Front Lines of Mental Health

July 22, 2021

The Rev. Edward Cardoza estimates that the volume of calls, messages and texts from members of his St. Mark’s Episcopal Church increased 20-fold over the past year. Most read something like this: “I’m sure you’re really busy and don’t have time, but if you do, would you have time for a conversation?”

People who had been sober for 10 or 15 years worried they might start drinking again. Some mentioned suicide. Couples who rarely argued were yelling at each other.

Source: ...

Read more about The Religious Leaders on the Front Lines of Mental Health

The Changing Faces of American Rabbis

July 22, 2021

When famous artists like Chagall depict rabbis, they are painted as bearded men, often hunched over ancient texts or wrapped in their prayer shawls. When depicted in film, a rabbi is almost always shown as a saintly older man, most often with a European accent, with Hollywood representations almost exclusively always showing rabbis as men. This stereotype is so common that American Sign Language’s word for “Jew” borrows from this imagery, showing the mimicking of running one’s fingers through beard hair.

In contrast to these traditional rabbinic images, Rabba Sara Hurwitz—who...

Read more about The Changing Faces of American Rabbis

Jewish group condemns United Church of Christ resolution on Israel, Palestinians

July 19, 2021

(RNS) — A Jewish advocacy group has condemned a resolution adopted at a meeting of the United Church of Christ on Sunday (July 18) that calls the continued oppression of the Palestinian people a “sin.”

The American Jewish Committee denounced the UCC resolution, a “Declaration for a Just Peace Between Palestine and Israel,” saying the measure “demonizes Israel, fails to offer a credible path to Israeli-Palestinian peace, and undermines advances in Christian-Jewish relations.”

The condemnation is the latest skirmish between Jewish advocacy groups and liberal...

Read more about Jewish group condemns United Church of Christ resolution on Israel, Palestinians

As pope restricts Latin Mass, some Boston Catholics respond with praise, some with frustration

July 19, 2021

Some Massachusetts Catholics are denouncing and some are extolling a move by Pope Francis on Friday to restrict celebration of the Latin Mass, the church’s standard form of worship until the 1960s, in what the pope says is an effort to unify believers.

The edict allows bishops to regulate the Latin Mass in their dioceses, but adds certain conditions to the rite’s celebration that will in effect curtail it. The decree, for instance, mandates that, from now on, new priests must get Vatican approval in order to say the rite.

Source: ...

Read more about As pope restricts Latin Mass, some Boston Catholics respond with praise, some with frustration

Sikhs, finding religious freedom on the road, take outsize role in American trucking

July 16, 2021

(RNS) — More and more of America’s truck drivers are wearing turbans, as a growing community of Punjabi-born drivers, the majority of whom are Sikhs, play an increasingly outsize role in one of America’s fastest-growing industries. 

The trucking industry has attracted generations of Americans by offering good salaries for work that allows drivers to essentially be their own bosses. That workplace freedom has drawn many Sikhs in the Sikh American community to pursue trucking. Beginning in the early 1990s and picking up steam after 2009, Sikhs have become an important part...

Read more about Sikhs, finding religious freedom on the road, take outsize role in American trucking

Denominations have begun creating special prayers for fatal mass shootings

July 16, 2021

When there are mass shootings, like this week in Chicago, or the previous week in Toledo — or, really, any week in this country — Episcopal Bishop Scott Hayashi thinks of that split second in a Tacoma record store decades ago. The beat when he turned toward a man with a gun to ask, “What did you say?” and saw his own 19-year-old face in the man’s mirrored shades before his body hit the floor.

Hayashi spent two months in the ICU and almost died after being shot in the stomach during the robbery. He now advocates with a group of other U.S. Episcopal bishops on the issue of gun...

Read more about Denominations have begun creating special prayers for fatal mass shootings

Paganism, gods and goddesses aside, is the most LGBTQ-affirming faith in the US

July 12, 2021

(RNS) — When the U.S. Supreme Court was hearing the Obergefell v. Hodges case that eventually made marriage equality a reality across the nation, pagans held rituals on the high court’s steps in Washington.

Led by Firefly House, a local witchcraft community, these public rites called forth the “spirit of justice and revolution” and attracted pagans from around the country. When the decision was finally handed down, the community celebrated.

Source: ...

Read more about Paganism, gods and goddesses aside, is the most LGBTQ-affirming faith in the US

New York Pitcher Becomes First Known Practicing Orthodox Jew Drafted Into MLB

July 12, 2021

Jacob Steinmetz's blazing fastball helped make him a baseball draft trailblazer.

The New York native is believed to be the first known practicing Orthodox Jewish player to be selected by a major league team, going in the third round — 77th overall — to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Steinmetz, from the Long Island hamlet of Woodmere, is a 17-year-old right-hander whose repertoire features a fastball that sits in the mid- to upper-90s and a knee-buckling curveball. His draft stock rose considerably while playing for the Elev8 Baseball...

Read more about New York Pitcher Becomes First Known Practicing Orthodox Jew Drafted Into MLB

School start date on Rosh Hashanah riles Jewish community in Bristol and Warren, Rhode Island

July 12, 2021

PROVIDENCE — To Jewish people like Adam Greenman, Rosh Hashanah is a time to reflect, to think about the past year and the year to come.

In some Rhode Island towns, though, the new year holiday in the Jewish faith has become the source of controversy, consternation and, potentially, litigation. That’s because some school districts in Rhode Island are planning to start school during Rosh Hashanah, and in the case of the Bristol Warren Regional School District, refusing to budge despite outcry in the local Jewish community.

Source: ...

Read more about School start date on Rosh Hashanah riles Jewish community in Bristol and Warren, Rhode Island